BACKCOUNTRY TAX FEEASCO the unedited and uncensored edition

Our original Backcountry Tax blog on the gosmokies site was moderated by some folks who held an opinion in favor of backcountry fees.  As a result the blog operator, Jigsha Desai made several threats to shut us down but we remained in operation because it was the most popular blog post in the history of that site.  We decided to take our conversation to a place where our message wouldn't be suppressed.  This blog is the result.

Therefore, it is our collective opinion that the Backcountry Fee Proposal put out By Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson and backcountry specialist Melissa Cobern is an egregious reach into the pockets of taxpaying citizens. 

A prominent study proves that access fees restrict use of National Park and forest lands.

The primary justification of the backcountry fee proposal made by park administration is campsite overcrowding which was proven false.  Click here for details and statistics to prove this fallacy for exactly what it is.  A federal fee grab.

Park management cozies up to the horse lobby but proposes a tax on  backpackers who are the best citizens of the Great Smoky Mountains.  In fact, Ditmanson recently signed off on a new horse concession smack dab in the middle of Cades Cove. is touted as a solution for reservation problems in the backcountry office but this Canadian based company is frought with problems.  72 hour reservations are required for the empty Smokies campsites you will be paying for the privilege of using.  Forget spontaneous weekend outings with the family.  Better pull out the wallet, you are going to pay just to talk to them.

This is not about money for any of us.  We love the Smokies and actually get out there and know the lies being spread by the Sugarlands swashbucklers.  It is a matter of deciding what type of National Park you want.  Should boy scout groups and single mothers and twenty somethings be discouraged from nature because of trumped up justifications for more rangers?  We think not.  Help us stop this double taxation now.  One fee will result in another.  We must make a stand.

(picture courtesy Kittzy Benzar, Western Slope No fee coalition)

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Comment by John Quillen on June 24, 2017 at 8:13am

I haven't seen that Mike.  I'm not a facebooker but have seen his other stuff.  Can you post a link to it somewhere here?

Comment by Mike Thorpe on June 23, 2017 at 9:09pm

From yet another angle, I am wondering if any of you guys are following Jerry Grub on Face Book. He has had a couple of interesting posts about the fire and the possibility that the fire that affected Gatlinburg might possibly have stemmed from a backfire lit near the park headquarters and having gotten out of hand....if that happened, it would sure be nice to see the feet of those in charge, held to the fire, no pun intended!

Comment by John Quillen on June 23, 2017 at 11:10am


Individual doesn't make any sense unless Lameass made a subconscious slip and they may be looking to "fire" someone over it. I believe Myers accurately noted how Ca$h quickly threw Clay Jordan under the bus right after the event.  We all know that Ca$h, however, was a firefighter for the Forest Service previously.  So he isn't in the least bit ignorant about what should have been done.

If there is one good thing that has come from this, it is that you haven't heard a peep from them about the frontcountry camping fee increase we gave them hell over.  They seem to have avoided any more contentious topics until the smoke settles.

Comment by Jim Casada on June 23, 2017 at 11:00am

John I wonder if the word "individual" was supposed to have been "independent." That is obviously the type of review that was needed. As for being overdue, that's seemingly standard operating procedure in many areas of government bureaucracy. Or am I just overly cynical?

Jim Casada

Comment by John Quillen on June 23, 2017 at 10:46am

Apparently Lameass has forgotten about the Backcountry Tax he so fervently supported. (from the same article below)

I hope you’ll continue to work with me and others from Tennessee and North Carolina to see that the Smokies receives at least the same appropriation as the other Western parks — especially when its total number of visitors is twice as much and when it doesn’t have fee revenue available to help.”

Comment by John Quillen on June 23, 2017 at 10:15am

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander took advantage of a subcommittee meeting to inquire about the status of the individual fire review of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s response to the fall 2016 Sevier County wildfires, and Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke said it was “overdue.

I can think of a lot of things that are "overdue" at the NPS.

Comment by Dustin M on June 21, 2017 at 8:44pm

Here's a better version, the space between the 'W' and the 'a' was bothering me. That was the default of the font though. I don't have anything other than what came with the macbook for editing so my abilities are limited. It will look good on my sidecar though. Maybe it will bring attention to your effort and let others that are not satisfied with the actions of our NPS know that there are more people like themselves.

Comment by Myers Morton on June 20, 2017 at 6:20pm

What about adding our owl?

Comment by John Quillen on June 19, 2017 at 8:58pm

That's a nice, clean look.

Comment by Dustin M on June 19, 2017 at 7:19pm

Do any of you guys cut vinyl decals?

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